Actions

Work Header

Bottle Episode

Work Text:

No Time Passed

“Well your mullet makes you look like a posterchild for bad hair day awareness groups!”

“Wow Lance, nice comeback, it was definitely amongst your top five”.

“At least I have a top five! You just have a worst one hundred!”

“If there’s any form of ranking then there has to be something that’s best, even if they’re all terrible! That made no sense!”

“You make no sense!”

“Alright that’s enough!” Allura shouted. Keith and Lance’s heads spun to the controls of the bridge where Allura stood, her face a perfect picture of rage, “You two have been at it for hours! We can’t take this anymore!”

Around her the other paladins and Coran nodded guiltily, avoiding making eye contact with the two boys. Lance stared pointedly at Hunk as the yellow paladin moved his eyes to the space above Lance’s head. Lance narrowed his eyes further and Hunk started looking elsewhere, his eyes flicking around the room, looking at anything but Lance before finally snapping.

“It’s true!” Hunk cried out, “All you two ever do is bicker and argue and the romantic tension is killing us”.

“Oh come on not all we do is bicker,” Lance stated pointedly, “We argue just a healthy amount”.

“I think,” Coran said carefully, “You two surpassed a healthy amount a few time cycles ago”.

“That’s how it used to be,” Keith said calmly, “It’s different now. We bonded. We’re…friends”.

“Oh as if,” Pidge moaned loudly, “I bet you couldn’t name three times you two bonded outside of missions”.

Keith and Lance stared at each other dumbfounded for a moment before Keith’s eyes lit up, “The food fight! Back when we first started forming Voltron Lance and I bonded during our fight with Allura”.

“Okay, guys, that was months ago, you two gotta let go of that eventually,” Hunk sniffed.

“Hey, I say we count it,” Shiro smiled kindly, “They won’t be able to name two more anyway”.

“There was that time I saved Lance from the airlock when Sendak possessed the castle!” Keith pointed out.

“That was less of bonding and more just not allowing another person to die in the cold vastness of space,” Coran put forward, “Not exactly bonding”.

“And you didn’t save me,” Lance muttered, “I was doing just fine”.

“You were about to be sucked into space”.

“I could have handled it”.

“You would have died”.

“Oh like you could have done any better?”

“Shut it!” Allura screamed again and the two boys, again, froze, “You couldn’t even last ten ticks without squabbling again like a bunch of children!”

“Well it’s our problem anyway, not yours,” Keith said and folded his arms neatly.

“That’s not exactly true,” Shiro said as he stepped forward, “It feels like it’s affecting the rest of the team. Putting us on edge. If you two don’t fix this soon, it could end up with someone getting hurt”.

“Okay, okay, we’ll talk about it and sort it out,” Lance smirked, “Happy?”

“That’s not quite good enough,” Shiro sighed, “We all talked it over and we all feel like we have to leave you two alone together for an hour, maybe two. Let you sort out all these problems”.

“Pfft shaw, we could so do that,” Lance said dismissively, “We could even handle longer. We could do a whole day, right Keith?”

“R-right!” Keith said, caught off-guard, “Easily”.

“As if,” Pidge snorted, “You two couldn’t spend even half a day together before trying to kill each other”.

“Oh yeah,” Lance sneered.

“Yeah!”

“Well I bet we could do it way longer than any of you would bet, right Keith?”

“Yeah?” Keith frowned before shaking his head and shouting “Yeah!”

“Alright then it’s settled,” Shiro said, “We’ll all place bets on how long you two will last locked in a room together. If you guys outlast all of our bets then we’ll never bring this up again. If you two lose though you aren’t allowed to bicker, ever again”.

“We’ll take that bet!” Lance smirked arrogantly.

“We will?”

“We will”.

0 Hours, 1 Minute and 30 Seconds

“Why did you pick this room?” Lance asked, mild disgust playing on his voice as he inspected his new surroundings, “It smells of that planet that had goo people instead of real people”.

“I think it smells good,” Keith smiled, “Like warm meals on a winter’s day”. He moved to sit on the bed and bounced slightly to test its springiness. He flopped down and closed his eyes contently.

“You would think that,” Lance scowled. He flopped to the floor and began to rummage through the objects that they’d brought with them into the room, “You sure this’ll be enough for three days?”

“Easily. We just have to ration out the food and use the technology as little as possible to save their charge”.

“What?” Lance shouted, “No way! How am I gonna entertain myself if I can’t binge on Planet Chaser 5!”

“I think Coran gave us a couple of board games to pass the time,” Keith mused.

“Great I can’t wait to see what the Alteans made of Monopoly”.

0 Hours, 20 Minutes and 46 Seconds

“Bullshit!” Lance shouted angrily, “This is bullshit!”

“Hey, language,” Keith teased, “It’s my turn now anyway”.

“Whatever,” Lance scowled.

“B9”.

“Bullshit!”

“Lance!”

“Whatever. You sunk my space battleship”.

Keith pumped his arm in victory, “Ha! That’s two games to me, none to you!”

“You’re really smug y’know for someone who flunked out of pilot school”.

“You talk a big game for someone who only got in because I left”.

“Whatever”.

1 Hour, 0 Minutes and 5 Seconds

“We’ve officially beaten Coran’s bet,” Keith said, breaking the long, heavy silence Lance had imposed on them. Keith was back on the bed and Lance sat in the corner with his head in his knees.

“Great”.

“Y’know if we’re gonna win this bet then you can’t stay mad at me for the entire time we’re in here”.

“Sure”.

“Especially when we have to share the bed later”.

Lance’s head immediately shot up in alarm at Keith’s words, “What do you mean share the bed later? We have to share a bed?”

“Where else are you gonna sleep? There’s only one of these in here Lance”.

Lance looked around the room frantically trying to figure out why he hadn’t noticed the lack of a second bed sooner. The walls had a window, empty shelves, lights, but no second bed. There was even a small bathroom off to the side in a door that would be absolutely unnoticeable if you didn’t know it was there, it was practically just a moving part of wall.

“Whatever,” Lance muttered, “I’ll just sleep on the floor”.

“We both know you won’t, you constantly talk about your perfect body care regime, and you said that that needs a plush and soft mattress”.

“You actually listen to me?” Lance said dumbstruck before shaking his head, “Then I can have the bed and you can sleep on the floor”.

“I already claimed this bed dude,” Keith smirked smugly, “You can join me on it or you can mess up your perfect body”.

“You just called my body perfect”.

“Shut it”.

1 Hour, 24 Minutes and 20 Seconds

Lance threw a blue rubber ball against the wall and caught it as it bounced back to him. Every time the ball collided with a surface, be it floor or wall, it made a loud THUNK noise. The noise was loud and annoying. The ball was loud and annoying. Lance was loud and annoying.

“Would you cut that out!” Keith shouted, bolting upright in the bed, “What form of joy could you possibly get from your obsessive catching of that small, rubber annoyance!”

“It relaxes me,” Lance insisted, looking across the room at Keith yet not stopping his regular throwing of the small sphere, “You said I couldn’t stay mad at you and, you know what, you were right. So here I am,” THUNK, “Not being mad,” THUNK, “Relaxing”.

THUNK.

“Keep relaxing and I’m gonna make sure you never get to relax again!” Keith shouted, throwing a nearby pillow at the other boy’s head. Lance dodged it and missed his catch, the blue rubber ball flying past him, bouncing off of the wall above the bed and hitting a light on the opposite wall, shattering it and spraying glass over the floor.

“Way to go Keith,” Lance muttered, picking up his ball and sitting back against the wall far from the spray of glass, “We now have to spend the next three days in a room with a pile of broken glass. Very safe”.

“Whatever”.

2 Hours, 3 Minutes and 22 Seconds

“Is there ever anything you miss about Earth?”

Lance sat back against the wall facing the bed with his knees up high and his head facing up, eyes shut. His dark skin shone in the light of the lamp above him and his clothes hung loosely off of his body.

“I miss the smell y’know,” Lance said after Keith failed to reply, “Every time we land on a new planet I just hope that it’s gonna smell like Earth. The combination of dirt and pollution and plants and people…it smells like home”.

Lance opened his eyes and slowly stared across the room at Keith on the bed. He was about to shout at the boy for falling asleep when he spoke, “I miss the air. The way it just felt to just breathe it in. All those other worlds seem to have weird tasting air, even the castle just feels wrong. I miss how the air back on Earth just…was”.

“Do you miss anyone?” Lance said softly, pushing care into every syllable.

“You mean people?”

“Yeah”.

“Not really”.

“No one?” Lance asked, genuine interest sparking in his chest, “Not even family? I know I miss all of my family, even though there’s way too many to miss all at once. You really don’t miss someone?”

“I spent so long out in the desert on my own that I don’t really have anyone to miss”.

“You never talk about your home out in the desert. You just disappeared from the Garrison one day and turned up saving Shiro another”.

Keith left another long silence before his response, “It never seemed relevant. That was before. This is now. Times change”.

“Yeah but nothing? It seems kind of important since it took up months of your life”.

“Times change,” Keith repeated firmly. Lance could feel another argument beginning to rear its head in the tone behind Keith’s voice and decided to quickly change the subject.

“Wanna play Uno?”

3 Hours, 24 Minutes and 56 Seconds

“…and so Pidge sneaks into the dining hall, and me and Hunk we’re there like ‘Dude no stop’, but Pidge just does not stop! And so we both go in after them and all the lights flick on at once and the commander is standing there and he says ‘What in tarnation are you three doing cadets?’ and so I say-”

“Just grabbing a small fry sir!” Keith cackled on the floor opposite Lance, a pack of Uno cards left discarded and used between them.

“That’s my line!” Lance laughed along with Keith loudly. His sides ached from laughing so much, it’d been months since he’d felt this happy. What had started with a harmless game of angry Uno had progressed into an attempt to out match each other in risky anecdotes.

“Man, what happened to you guys after that?” Keith snorted, wiping tears from the corners from his eyes.

“We got cleaning duty for the entire canteen and kitchen for a month after that,” Lance smiled dismissively, “It was worth it though. Times like that, they made us a closer team”.

Keith smiled sadly and silently for a while, his long hair falling across his eyes. His hair fell lightly across his dark eyes, the light shining off of the walls and falling across his face to make his gaze even more striking. Lance had never looked at Keith’s eyes before; they were sharper than he’d realised. They were kind too, soft and small, like a doll’s eyes.

“It’s hard sometimes,” Keith said melancholically, his smile still dancing on his lips but not quite showing any happiness, “Not being one of you guys. You, Hunk and Pidge…you seem so close without even trying. And Shiro, Allura and Coran all immediately bonded. Coran and Allura have so much past that none of us have even thought about….and Shiro, he just fits in so perfectly with them, another leader,” he brushed the hair from his face, somehow making his soft-looking hair seem even more tender, “It just leaves me. On the outside, just like I was back on Earth. Sometimes I feel like just because I’m one of the only hopes for the universe it just means I’m even more hopeless”.

Lance was taken aback, for the first time in forever speechless, at a loss for words except for two of the few words he thought he’d never, ever say to Keith, “I’m…sorry”.

Keith shook his head, his hair bouncing along with his movements, “You don’t have to be. You didn’t mean to do anything. But those times that we argue, that’s when I feel like I’m most part of the team, like you guys feel glad I’m here”.

“Is that why you’re doing the bet?”

Keith laughed, “Yeah, I guess it is. Why are you doing it?”

“So that I still get to have a reason to talk to you”.

The two paladins met eyes for a moment, before both smiling sheepishly and rubbing the backs of their heads simultaneously. They hesitated for a moment, both not saying words unsaid, before Lance broke the awkward silence between them.

“I bet you I could kick your ass at Space Battleships now”.

“You’re on”.

5 Hours, 11 Minutes and 24 Seconds

Lance lay back against the wall and whistled; after the game of space battleships had ended with the reveal that Keith had been cheating (“They’re in space! I can stack the ships on top of each other if I want; you’re just annoyed you didn’t do it”) the two of them squabbled and moved onto doing their own thing. Keith had begun to read and Lance moved around the room absentmindedly, looking for the most comfortable spot to sit, carefully avoiding the broken glass but refusing to pick it up.

Then he realised how annoying he could be by whistling a catchy song and getting it stuck in Keith’s head.

He began to whistle an old Altean song that Coran had taught them when they’d all tried to cheer up Allura after she lost her father again. She was sad for a full week before the team came together to help cheer her up; Coran organised a recreation of the Altean Festival of Moons, and had the five of them play every role the festival needed: street venders, parade members and, ultimately, the choir that sang The Melody of Moons.

A song which ended up being extremely similar to the kind of slow music back on Earth that would be stuck in your head for days before a faster, catchier song could get rid of it. The kind of song with a slow, looping, easy melody with repetitive, beautiful lyrics.

Lance expected Keith to growl in annoyance or to tell him to shut up-but he didn’t. Keith began to sing low the soft lyrics of the song; his voice caught the notes of the melody perfectly as Lance whistled out the tune. He began to worry he would ruin the tune, that he would whistle too high or too low.

But he didn’t.

The song ended and Keith sighed contently and laid back down on the bed, his face out of sight but a smile most definitely dancing across his lips. As soon as the sounds stopped Lance missed them; he never realised how much he’d missed music out in space. And Keith’s voice caught the exact same style that the musicians Lance used to listen to on Earth held.

He wondered if he asked if Keith would sing again.

5 Hours, 45 Minutes and 57 seconds

“What time is it?” Lance whined out, falling flat against the floor with a THUNK and a groan.

Keith paused for a while, “I actually have no idea. We forgot to bring a clock”.

“What do we have?” Lance sighed out, supressing a wide yawn.

“A ticker”.

“What’s it say?”

“It says we’ve beaten Hunk’s bet but to be able to beat Allura’s we have to do pretty much 66 more hours”.

Lance yawned widely.

6 Hours, 10 Minutes and 37 Seconds

Keith turned over on the bed to stare at Lance; the other boy lay on his front, a book in one hand and his head, supported, in the other. Keith didn’t think he’d ever seen Lance read something that wasn’t a statistic on a screen. He was completely engrossed in the book, his eyes blinking rarely and his gaze never wavering from the words of the page. Compared to how Keith saw the other people on the team, he’d always thought of Lance as the least intelligent.

He didn’t think Lance wasn’t smart; he just didn’t value his intellect as much as the others. Compared to Coran, who knew thousands of years of intergalactic history; Allura, a brilliant ruler and tactician; Hunk, who could operate any alien machinery given enough time; Shiro, an unrivalled pilot and fearless leader; and Pidge, who was…well Pidge.

Compared to the rest of the team’s daunting mental capacities Keith realised he felt…small, inconsequential. He didn’t like that he thought that about Lance; he wished he saw everyone on the team as an equal. But he thought about all of their adventures and bonding and realised….he had nothing.

Everyone on the team had had a time to showcase their skills, being the most important person for a specific task. Even the mice had proven themselves to be important, even Rover had sacrificed himself for Voltron.

What had Keith ever done for the team?

Lance let out a loud cry of pain and immediately Keith jumped to his feet, his hand moving instinctively to where his Bayard normally hung at his side but instead grasping at nothing.

“Papercut,” Lance muttered, wiping a tiny droplet of blood onto his jeans. He looked up at Keith and frowned in confusion, “Why did you get up like that?”

Keith glared at Lance for a moment and scowled, climbing back onto the bed to face the wall, “Nothing”.

Lance’s face split into a grin reaching from ear to ear, “Aw what’s wrong Keith, were you worried about me?”

“It was nothing. Go back to reading”.

Lance climbed onto the bed next to Keith and grinned into his ear, “It’s okay Keith. I’d be worried for your life too if you got a papercut”.

“I said go back to reading,” Keith growled angrily.

“What’s wrong Mullet-Man, you feel ignored?” Lance purred.

Keith hissed and shoved Lance as hard as he could (surprisingly hard considering he was facing the wall) and the other boy tumbled off of the bed, hitting the ground with a loud THUMP. Keith felt humiliated he’d even been worried-of course Lance was fine, what the hell could happen to him in here? He was just being over-dramatic and stupid.

Lance jumped back to his feet almost immediately with an angry expression firmly place onto his face, “What the hell man?”

“I told you to stop,” Keith muttered in frustration, “But I had to make you stop”.

“Don’t blame this on me man!” Lance shouted, “You started this!”

Keith sneered and tossed quickly on the bed, throwing his legs around to catch Lance in the chest, slightly above his abdomen. He flew across the room diagonally and crashed into the wall, his legs splayed and arm limply falling to the floor. His head bounced off the wall lightly, his torso having taken the majority of the blow.

As soon as Keith had kicked Lance he’d regretted it-they hadn’t even spent half a day together and already they were fighting and hurting each other, it wouldn’t work out for much longer, one of them would kill the other.

Keith started towards Lance across the small room with his hands out in front of himself carefully, “Lance I-I’m so sorry, I’ll do something, I’ll get Allura, she can put you in a healing pod”.

Keith turned quickly and marched to the door but Lance screeched out in pain and he whipped back around; Lance was holding up his arm as blood dripped out of a slash in his arm.

“Oh my god,” Keith whispered, his mouth covered by his hands. He couldn’t move his eyes away yet all he wanted to do was look away, why couldn’t he look away?

“Stop just standing there! Help me!” Lance cried out in exasperation, “It’s not gonna get any less cut!”

Keith nodded and began to moving to the door again when Lance screeched again, “Don’t go out there jackass, we have a bloody bet going on”.

“What can I do?” Keith asked in panic. He wasn’t convinced he shouldn’t go out there, bet be damned.

“Christ Keith, you lived out in the desert alone for who knows how long,” Lance snapped, exasperated, “Don’t you know how to bandage a bloody cut?”

Keith shook his head ‘no’, despite meaning to nod his head ‘yes’; the sight of the blood on Lance’s arm was making his head spin and all he could think to do was getting bandages or Allura, but he couldn’t leave the room.

Lance scowled, “Get some fabric dumbass, something long and wide,” he let out a shaky breath as he looked at the quickly worsening appearance of his arm, “Wrap it around my arm tight several times, especially above so that the blood coming through will be less. Use a different bit of fabric first to mop up some of the blood”.

Keith let out his own shaky breath, “I know how to bandage a wound Lance,” he stammered and Lane shot him a glare. Keith moved his hand unsteadily to his jacket as he pulled it off, followed by his shirt. He blushed as he tore at the fabric of the top to create a long strip of grey fabric. He quickly moved across the room and knelt on the floor next to Lance, whom was still scowling.

With his trembling hands Keith began to dab the area around the cut with a smaller piece of his jacket sleeve-he got a small amount of blood on his thumb and instinctively whipped it across where his shirt should have been, forgetting momentarily he wasn’t wearing it. He almost gagged as he wiped Lance’s blood across his chest but tried to move past it, praying Lance wouldn’t notice.

Once the majority of the already spilt blood was cleaned from his arm Keith began to wrap the shirt-bandage around it; what had seemed like a gaping hole in Lance’s arm before turned out to be relatively small once Keith could actually see the cut. He probably hadn’t needed to use his entire shirt as a bandage but as he had already destroyed it, he used it in its entirety. Lance winced whilst the bandage was applied but kept his eyes shut, as he had before Keith had begun to clean the wound.

“O-okay,” Keith said nervously, “All fixed”.

Lance opened his eyes timidly and tried moving his arm. He let out a faint noise of pain and winced but besides that showed no sign of major discomfort.

“Next time you decide to injure me like this,” Lance muttered, “Try to at least make it a cool face scar, not a weak bicep one”.

“R-right,” Keith breathed out, relieved that Lance wasn’t angry at him or seemingly mad at all.

“Man it’s gonna hurt like hell to flex for a while,” Lance said, pulling his uninjured arm into a pose, “I’ll just have to stick with righty here”. Keith nodded nervously, still not completely over the sight of Lance on the floor with a bloody arm. Lance sighed in annoyance and began to pull himself to his feet, careful to not allow his hands to catch any broken glass as he rose, “Go wash your hands in our bathroom, they’re covered in my blood”.

Keith nodded again, “Okay. Yeah, okay”.

“And put your jacket on, you can’t spend the next three days shirtless”.

Keith yelped, grabbed his jacket and ran to the bathroom.

8 Hours, 3 Minutes and 44 Seconds

The last almost two hours had been painful for Keith; he felt like Lance was trying to pretend that what had just happened hadn’t happened. After spending around half an hour in the bathroom cleaning up, trying to come to terms with what he’d done and attempting to do up a jacket that couldn’t do up he emerged from the room with practically his entire chest on display. For the first time ever he wished he’d chosen a jacket that instead of being short and attractive was long and practical. The outfits they’d worn when entering the castle for the first time kept magically appearing in their drawers, probably some ancient Alean thing.

Somehow Lance had also got pyjamas in his drawers too.

Once he’d left the bathroom Lance almost immediately went in, presumably to clean blood off of himself and his clothes. Keith had looked across the room at where Lance had fallen; the shards of the broken light were swept into a small pile in the corner along with the parts for Battleship and the bloody rag that used to be a part of Keith’s jacket. He felt the scuffed end of his sleeve with guilt and sat against the wall on the floor. Lance deserved the bed after all that.

Around five minutes after Keith had broodingly sat against the wall Lance too emerged from the bathroom, his jacket sleeve rolled up and a fresh piece of fabric wrapped around his cut. Keith wondered for a moment where the new fabric had come from until he noticed Lance too wearing just his jacket-which is to say not his shirt.

Lance noticed Keith staring and flashed a grin, “Had to change the bandage, couldn’t let it get infected,” he hopped onto the bed and laid down with his smirk extremely visible, “Besides now we’re both somewhat nude-ish”.

Keith blushed but said nothing.

Keith continued blushing and saying nothing every time Lance spoke, especially since normally what Lance said was flirty or cocky. He didn’t feel he had the right to be rude to Lance after what he’d done; if Shiro were there he would had given a lecture on teamwork and the importance of safety. Keith would have hated every second of it, even if Shiro had his best intentions.

Keith felt like the next three days couldn’t end soon enough.

“You’re gonna have to talk sometime,” Lance said after a long, ten minute silence that felt like sixty, “You can’t keep torturing yourself for kicking me across the room”.

Keith nodded and said nothing.

“If you stay silent then honest to God I’m gonna hug you and not let go until you talk”.

Keith blushed and stayed silent.

“It’s not gonna be comfortable. We both have a lot of bare skin and it’s getting hot in here. All sticky and uncomfortable, and trust me I don’t want this anymore than you do”.

Keith blushed and stayed silent.

Lance sighed as he climbed off of the bed, “You’re forcing someone with a quite possibly life ruining scratch to move. You can stop this by speaking,” Keith said nothing and Lance sat by his side and pulled him into a hug; part of Keith’s upper chest rubbed against Lance’s. Keith’s breathing hitched and he stayed absolutely still, “Okay Keith, what’s wrong?” Lance asked in an accusative tone, his voice directly flowing into Keith’s ear, “You gave me a tiny scratch and made us both shirtless, it’s no big deal. You don’t have to torture yourself”.

Lance sighed a final time and tried to get up but Keith wrapped his arms around Lance and stopped him moving up. Lance smiled and moved back to where he was.

It wasn’t as uncomfortable as he thought.

8 Hours, 13 Minutes and 24 Seconds

“Keith I think you gotta let go now,” Lance said softly. Keith nodded and pulled back from Lance slowly, leaning back against the wall.

“You think I’m a weirdo now don’t you?” Keith said with a twinge of bitterness in his voice, as well as a hint of regret.

“Not any more than I did before”.

“I think that that was the longest anyone’s ever hugged me”.

“Keith…” Lance paused for a moment to consider his words; it was a tender moment. A wrong word, anything he said that didn’t fit could further alienate Keith from him-permanently, “Out in the desert…were you completely alone?”

Keith barely moved in shaking his head, “For a while Shiro stayed with me. Then I joined him at the Garrison, so we could become pilots together. That’s why when I,” he took a shaky breath, “When we found him, I was so relieved”.

“You must have spent months out in that desert alone”.

“When we got him back…he still acts like barely any time passed. To him none did, he forgot it all. But I,” Keith’s eyes began to brim with tears, “I had to spend months alone out there thinking he was dead, thinking I was gonna be alone forever”.

“That’s why you dropped out”.

“I didn’t see the point in training if I couldn’t do it with Shiro”.

“You love him don’t you,” Lance said in a small voice. He didn’t know why he cared about it but it felt important, like a small itch on your back; possible to ignore but ultimately impossible to leave.

“I don’t. Not any more”.

Keith stood up, leaving Lance behind him on the floor. He shook his head, moving his hair back into place with a sigh, “We should get some sleep. It’ll kill time. Make these three days move faster”.

“Okay”.

Keith stood still in the centre of the room, “Can I ask you a question now Lance?”

Lance nodded before realising Keith couldn’t see him. He stammered out a yes and Keith’s back slouched slightly, releasing built up tension maybe.

“Why does it matter to you?”

Why did it matter to him? Was it because Lance cared about Keith? Of course he cared about Keith; they were team mates, maybe even friends. But it wasn’t that, it felt like it was more than that. He felt, deep in his gut somewhere, that it was something more than just casual friendship that made Lance care about Keith. Did he feel like Keith was family?

Lance opened his mouth to speak but no words came out; he hoped just trying to speak would have just come forward from inside of him and told Keith the truth, the truth that Lance could never have told Keith, the truth Lance didn’t know.

“Right,” Keith said shortly, “I’m gonna get ready for bed”. The boy walked quickly into the bathroom and the door let out a click as it shut behind him.

Lance tried to call out to Keith but again no words came forth, just a slight squeak from the back of his throat. Keith came out the bathroom with his arms folded over his chest, blocking the majority of the skin visible above his abdomen. He climbed into the bed and faced the wall.

“You can’t sit there all night,” Keith murmured after a moment, “Get in the bed”.

Lance’s mouth twitched as he smiled.

11 Hours 58 Minutes and 3 Seconds

Keith couldn’t sleep, of course he couldn’t, Lance was right behind him. In bed. It would be difficult enough to sleep if what had just happened hadn’t just happened.

He’d just admitted having feelings for Shiro to someone, and that someone was Lance of all people. He’d admitted having feelings, gay feelings, for their team captain.

And he’d said he didn’t have them anymore. He hadn’t even realised it until he said it but he’d moved on from loving Shiro.

He hadn’t even realised he’d moved onto loving Lance.

13 Hours, 12 Minutes and 11 Seconds

Lance’s hair smelt of shampoo. It was impossible to avoid, even with Keith facing the wall. He remembered that Lance normally wore dozens of creams and hair products to sleep but he’d brought none of that with him.

His skin was incredibly soft so it must be worth it.

21 Hours, 5 Minutes and 18 Seconds

Keith hadn’t realised he’d fallen asleep until he woke up, lying against the cold wall alone in the bed. Lance was gone, probably in the bathroom doing his hair or checking his cut. Keith turned over and lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling. What happened now? Did they talk about last night or just move on from it, like nothing had happened, or maybe just stay completely silent for the next two days.

The wall that led to the bathroom slid open and Lance emerged, a towel wrapped neatly around his waist, a towel wrapped up professionally in his hair and a final smaller towel wrapped around his arm (or at least a small portion of one).

“Don’t know why I didn’t think of this last night,” Lance grinned, showing off his arm to Keith, “Would have saved both of our shirts”.

Keith subconsciously pulled the duvet of the bed slightly further up his chest, hiding more of his skin, “I was about to say,” Keith started, “About last night”.

“I was thinking about that just now in the shower,” Lance smiled softly, “We should just totally forget about it. Emotions running high, panic from the accident, we were bound to say some things. It’s probably better if we just leave it”.

“Yeah I was gonna say that,” Keith said, “None of it was important, just caused by adrenaline.”.

“Good”.

“Good”.

“So…breakfast?”

21 Hours, 35 Minutes and 1 Second

“That was one of the most unsatisfying goo-based meals I’ve ever had,” Lance scowled with a sour face and a taste of sour eggs in his mouth.

“You just gotta acquire a taste for this stuff,” Keith said, “It’s not that bad when you finally lose your taste buds”.

Lance grinned and laid back onto the floor with his hands up behind his head, “You would have loved my mum’s cooking. She made the spiciest chili, and a chicken hotpot that tasted better than anything you could ever imagine”.

“I never told you this,” Keith said quietly, “But Shiro is an amazing cook. He once made me this sushi that his dad used to make and ever since it’s been one of my favourite foods”.

“Seriously?” Lance laughed, “Shiro?”

“It’s a secret though, so don’t tell anyone”.

“Reckon if we found a fish and seaweed planet he’d make us some?”

“Probably not”.

“Man you would love my family,” Lance smiled, “I have this big sister who acts tough and angsty likes you but is a complete softy”.

“I’m a softy?” Keith frowned.

“Completely,” Lance smirked, “And I have a little sister and brother who are identical twins that you would hate,” Lance ran a hand through his hair and replaced it back behind his head, “They constantly make unfunny jokes and arrogant remarks”.

“Like you”.

“Not like you”.

“I dunno dude sounds a lot like you”.

“Shut up Mullet”.

“Make me Ice Queen”.

Lance sat up slowly with a cocky smirk playing on his face, “Is that a challenge shorty?”

Keith gulped, “M-maybe”.

Lance’s crooked grin grew wider and he leant forward further, eventually falling onto his hands and knees, “You mentioned last night you don’t like Shiro anymore and you asked why I cared about that?”

“Y-yeah?”

“I think last night I realised why”.

21 Hours, 36 Minutes and 42 Seconds

Lance had no idea what he was doing; Keith wasn’t stopping him, he should be stopping him, but instead he was just sitting there dumbly like a mute doll, why wasn’t he stopping him?

Lance thought back to the night before; he’d lain in bed with Keith lying behind him, probably asleep, and thought about what Keith had said. First of all Keith was gay-or maybe bi like Lance. Secondly he used to like Shiro but had since moved on; probably around the same time Shiro was kidnapped by the Galra. And most importantly, it mattered to Lance that he felt all these things.

After around an hour of considering everything that had happened, some part of Lance pieced everything together-the part of Lance that sounded suspiciously like Pidge. He was in love with Keith, why else would he be so interested in who Keith liked, why else would he have created so many stories about their rivalry back at the Garrison, why else would he have kept staring at Keith’s semi-bare chest after he’d taken off his shirt?

Which must be why he was leaning towards Keith’s face, Keith himself not pulling away, leaning in to press his lips against Keith. His lips were a millimetre away, so easily within reach. So close.

Lance’s arm suddenly flared up and he let out a pathetic yelp of pain. He fell face first forward into Keith’s chest, knocking the two of them over, Keith on the floor, Lance on Keith.

“Lance!” Keith cried out, immediately lifting him up off of his warm chest to look at him worryingly, “Are you okay?”

No “Yeah, just my arm,” Lance scowled, pulling away from Keith’s grip, “Bloody thing still hurts like hell,” he said and pulled up his jacket sleeve to stare at the bloodstained towel wrapped around his arm, “I’m gonna have to use another towel on this”.

“Lance-” Keith started but Lance cut across him.

“No don’t worry, it’s nothing, I’ll be back”.

“Lance-”

“Really it’s fine, just give me two minutes”.

“Lance” Keith said again firmly and Lance turned to look at the other boy; he was smiling a genuine, beautiful grin with twinkling eyes and red cheeks. Keith leaned in and pressed his cold lips against Lance’s warm ones. They touched for just a long, long moment and an electric spark flooded through Lance’s body. When Keith finally pulled away Lance was star-struck, his mind filled with feelings and shouts and words for everything that the kiss just made him feel.

“I have to go to the bathroom”.

“Okay…”

Lance hated himself, “I don’t mean like that, sorry, I mean my bandages, I have to change them again”.

Keith awkwardly nodded, “Right”.

“I’ll go do that, don’t move”.

“Right”.

21 Hours, 53 Minutes and 11 Seconds

Keith and Lance sat again the walls on opposite sides of the room staring at each other silently and awkwardly. When Lance had left the bathroom Keith was already sitting where he was and so Lance sat opposite, leaving an immeasurably measurable space between them.

“I messed up didn’t I,” Lane said after a long while. Keith pursed his lips.

“No,” he said firmly, “You didn’t mess up, for once. It was just”.

“Unwanted?”

“Unexpected”.

“So…it wasn’t horrible?”

“It was nice”.

Lance nodded and stayed quiet, not knowing what to say. He looked down at the floor, his mind racing with a million things to say and absolutely no words to speak.

“We could…do it again”.

Lance looked up at Keith, who too was staring at the ground. Lance couldn’t see a thing about his face past his long, bouncy hair, but he imagined him chewing his lip in nervousness-thinking about Keith being nervous made Lance feel less stupid; if Keith was nervous too at least they were nervous together.

“Do it again?” Lance asked, his voice a combination of dumbfounded and hopeful.

Keith nodded, head still down “Yeah…if you want”.

Lance could feel his face practically burning; “Okay…” he managed as he began to crawl across the room toward Keith, who looked up, his face equally burning. Lance reached Keith across the room and let out a shaky breath before quickly pressing his lips into Keith’s. It felt wrong; Keith’s lips were dull and sweaty and unresponsive. Lance pulled back and shook his head rapidly, “This is wrong, I’m sorry”.

Keith’s eyes were hurt and even more red rose to his face, “This is wrong? You mean kissing me or me in general?”

Lance shook his head again, “I didn’t mean that, I promise. I mean this,” he gestured to the two of them, “This forced tension between us. We need to, y’know, chill out, let the mood mellow. Let it be natural”.

Keith gulped and nodded, “I think I understood enough words there to agree with you”.

Lance shone a nervous smile, “Right. Mathematical”.

“Why do you do that?” Keith asked as Lance sat down properly.

“Do what?”

“You use weird slang and words completely out of context for no reason”.

“I do not”.

“You do, it’s like a nervous tick or a coping mechanism”.

“Broski you got it all wrong,” Lance laughed, “I do this because I’m relaxed you know?”

“What is Broski?”

“I have no idea but I sound good”.

“You’re right, it’s very cool beans”.

“Okay dude you promised you wouldn’t say that anymore”.

23 Hours, 3 Minutes and 34 Seconds

“Okay you go,” Lance smirked; his jacket was abandoned halfway across the room along with Keith’s leaving them both shirtless on the floor, both lying on their backs lazily.

“Truth”.

“Boxers or briefs”.

“Oh Christ Lance,” Keith laughed, “What are you, nine, ask something good”.

“I stand by my question,” Lance smiled arrogantly, leaning back in what he assumed only could look like a rich, fancy pose, “It’s a genuine interest that will help the team on future missions”.

“Boxers”.

“Knew it”.

“What about you?” Keith grinned.

“Hey, not your turn Tinkle Town”.

“I only told you that story on the condition you wouldn’t tease me for it!” Keith laughed loudly, “You ass!”

“We both knew I would not keep that promise”.

“Alright jackass, truth or dare”.

“I know what the truth is,” Lance flashed a grin, “So dare”.

“I dare you to tell me truthfully if you were boxers or briefs”.

“Dude that’s lame,” Lance scowled playfully and Keith shrugged, “Briefs. They’re cosier”.

Keith let out a groan, “This game is lame, all we can do is truth because there’s nothing to do in here”.

Lance’s face broke into a grin, “You ever seen The Breakfast Club Keith?”

Keith frowned, “Is that a play or a sport’s team or…?”

Lance let out a loud, exasperated groan, “This is why people grow up in cities, not deserts”.

“Just tell me what it is, you ass”.

“There’s 5 kids from different backgrounds, they all have detention on a Saturday and have to stay in the library together otherwise they’ll get punished more-”

“Kinda like us,” Keith grinned and Lance rolled his eyes.

“Sure, like us,” he said, “Anyway, at one point they leave the room they’re trapped in to get…something from one of their lockers. They do it secretly and end up all bonding over what they get from the locker”.

“Well what do they get?”

“That’s not the point, what the point is, is that they manage to sneak around and we should too, it’ll end up bonding us”.

“We can have bondage perfectly here in fine Lance”.

Lance’s eyes widened and he felt a loud bellow fly out of his chest; he rolled back on the floor laughing, tears coming to his eyes. Keith stared confused at Lance, which only made Lance laugh harder.

“What’s so funny about us having bondage?” Keith asked in confusion and Lance hooted and snorted. Keith continued to stare at Lance in utter confusion.

23 Hours, 59 Minutes, 32 Seconds

“We’re about to beat Shiro’s bet,” Keith said from the bed, looking down at the shirtless Lance lying on his back reading with his arms held up far in the air above him.

“I think he thought he was being kind by betting a day, in a kind of ‘I want you two to be able to do this but I also want to win this so bad’ kind of way”.

“What was that voice?” Keith asked in disbelief.

“It was Shiro. I have accents for all of the team”.

“Why?”

“Why not?” Lance pouted from the floor and Keith shrugged.

“I mean I guess why not,” he pondered, “It just seems kind of pointless to me”.

“Wanna see if you can guess who I’m impersonating,” Lance grinned and Keith smiled excitedly.

“You’re on”.

Keith swung his legs around to the edge of the bed as Lance placed his book down and sat up, crossed legged, “Okay here’s my first one,” Lance said and took in a deep breath, “’Oh hello team’,” Lance said in an English accent, “’I just whipped up a fresh batch of quiznak to prepare you for a day of cleaning! Remember, a clean castle is a happy castle’!”

“So obviously Coran,” Keith snorted and Lance laughed.

“Okay, okay how about this one,” Lance chuckled before turning his face serious, “’Wow!’” Lance said, his voice filled with fake child-like wonder, “’The servo-dynamic suspension in this quad-core station is equal in magnitude to the mechanical magnetics of the castle’!”

“Pidge, Pidge, that is so Pidge!” Keith roared in laughter and Lance joined him, falling back onto the floor as he laughed and clutched his stomach.

“Okay, okay, last one,” Lance grinned and in a gruff voice said, “’I don’t need safety, I can do what I want! I’m a cool loner who doesn’t need anyone…ugh let me just go train’”.

“…I actually have no idea who that is”.

“It’s you”.

“Ass”.

25 Hours, 39 Minutes, 12 Seconds

“I can’t believe I’m actually letting you do this”.

“Stop speaking,” Lance scowled, “It makes it harder to do if you move”.

Keith sat on the floor in the centre of the room with Lance sitting behind him fiddling with his hair. Keith hadn’t even realised what was happening until Lance had crawled across the floor to the edge of the bed he lay on and started pulling it slightly. Keith had turned to look at Lance, who gave him huge puppy dog eyes, “Can I braid your hair?”

“How did you even learn how to braid hair?” Keith muttered, his face twitching in occasional pain as Lance pulled too hard.

“I have two sisters dude,” Lance said absently as he continued on with Keith’s hair.
“Oh okay, your sisters taught you”.

“What? No,” Lance scowled, “I taught myself. My older sister wouldn’t let anyone near her hair, ever, she spent years growing it out to the length it is. I had to learn so my little sister would have someone to do it for her”.

“What about your mum?” Keith said.

“Why you so obsessed with women doing the braiding dude, just let this happen”.

26 Hours, 48 Minutes, 52 Seconds

“Marco,” Keith said worryingly, his short jacket wrapped around his head. Lance snickered from behind him and called out ‘Polo’ before darting across the room. Keith caught his arm as he ran and grinned, staring at Lance even from beneath the blindfold, “Dude I told you, you can’t win Marco Polo against me”.

“Why the hell are you so good at stuff like this?” Lance muttered dejectedly.

“When you live in near total silence all the time you get better at hearing the little things”.

“Cheater”.

27 Hours, 19 Minutes, 32 Seconds

“...and the doctor says, you’re ugly too”.

Keith frowned, “I don’t get t. Why would a doctor tell a patient that he’s ugly?”

“You need a better sense of humour”.

28 Hours, 2 Minutes and 5 Seconds

Keith and Lance sat side by side with their backs to the wall, Lance’s head resting on Keith’s shoulder, bored, with Keith’s head resting on his. They’d run out of dumb kid’s games to play and all of Coran’s bored games either missed parts or had no instructions in any Earth language except Mandarin. Keith had put his jacket back on; it was soft under Lance, but coarse at the same time, making it hurt slightly to move even slightly. He smelt of boy and soap. Lance considered having another shower just to pass the time even slightly.

“How much longer?” Lance asked in a bored voice.

“Two minutes more than last time you asked,” Keith replied, equally bored.

“How much longer is that?”

“44 hours”.

30 Hours, 12 Minutes and 38 Seconds

Lance was whistling again from the bed. He laid back and lazily whistled ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad’ loudly. Keith stared at him and imagined him actually at a railroad, shirtless as he was now, with a long piece of straw in his mouth and suspenders…he was imagining Lance as a farmer, not a railroad worker. Damn.

“I worked on a farm once,” Keith blurted out. Lance stopped whistling and turned over on the bed to stare at Keith silently, “I mean just for a couple days. I worked on a ranch. Back on Earth”.

Lance blinked, “What did you do?”

Keith blinked back, “Looked after the animals. There was a few cows and chickens”.

“Why were you working on the farm?” Lance asked, wide-eyed and innocent.

“Needed somewhere to stay. They offered me a room if I worked for them”.

“Why’d you leave?”

Keith let out a sigh, “There was this girl-”

“Ha!” Lance shouted, leaping out of bed to slide down on the floor next to Keith, wrapping his arm around his shoulder, “A girl, tell me more”.

“She was tall-”

“Uh huh”.

“Pretty”.

“Oh yeah?”

“Long, soft orange hair-”

“You left to follow that girl then huh? I get it, I get it”.

“What?” Keith exclaimed, “No, I left to get away from her”.

“You’ve lost me,” Lance frowned, “You ran away from a pretty girl? Not towards? Does that work?”

“She wanted me to…kiss her and spend time with her and hold her hand”.

“I’m really not seeing the problem here,” Lace frowned deeper, “That sounds pretty sweet, who wouldn’t want a girl being like that to them”.

“Me,” Keith said, “I literally admitted to you that I like guys less than 24 hours ago”.

“I assumed you liked both,” Lance shrugged, “That’s what I do”.

“You make it sound like it’s so easy”.

“It is so easy,” he shrugged, “Besides everyone wants a piece of this, it’d be unfair if I only liked chicks or only liked dudes”.

“It isn’t really that easy is it?” Keith asked in genuine shock, “You dated guys and your family didn’t get angry?”

“Well…no,” Lance admitted, “I’ve never atually…dated…anyone”.

“Me neither. My family still got angry at me”.

“Your,” Lance said, “Your family?”

“Yes Lance, my family, who the hell else would I be talking about right now?”

“Okay jeez calm down”.

“Sorry, I’ve never talked about this before”.

Lance took his arm back from around Keith and held his hand with it. Keith looked up at Lance and the other boy stared into his eyes smiling softly. Keith took a deep breath.

“I have a family. Had a family. I don’t know”.

“How do you not know?” Lance asked gently.

“They’re in Korea,” Keith said flatly, “One day when I was out at school, my mum read my diary. She saw I’d written about a boy at school and when I got home she handed me a bag full of my clothes and told me not to come back”.

“Oh man,” Lance whispered, “I’m so sorry”.

“Lance, that was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Keith said with a bittersweet smile, “If I hadn’t been kicked out of home I never would’ve cross Europe, gone to America, met Shiro, become a pilot”.

Met you.

“Still,” Lance murmured, “I can’t imagine having to get by without having my family. My sisters and parents and uncles and my abuela,” Keith smiled sadly and looked down and Lance’s eyes widened, “Oh man I’m sorry I didn’t think-”

“I have a family Lance,” Keith laughed, “I have you guys”.

Lance suppressed a smile, “Does this make what we did earlier incest?” Keith shrugged so Lance continued, “And also what does that make everyone else. Is Allura our mom? Is Coran that weird uncle that always hangs around? Is Shiro our dad?”

“Even I know it’s wrong to call him your dad Lance”.

“What would you be? My brother?”

“You’re reading into this too much”.

“Or maybe not enough”.

“Okay, I get the point, I said something cliché, you can stop teasing me now”.

“I think it’s better that we’re not brothers, it means I get to do this,” Lance said boldly, lifting Keith’s head and pressing his lips into Keith’s. The other boy shifted his body and pushed more into the kiss. Lance moved his hand to cup Keith’s face and moved closer to him, pressing their chests together. Lance’s mouth opened slightly in the kiss and Keith mimicked him before moving away, breaking the kiss with a small sound.

“You kissed me,” he said in calm bewilderment.

“You kissed me,” Lance replied childishly.

“Not yet I didn’t,” Keith growled and pushed Lance down. The taller boy stayed still in total bewilderment as Keith moved on top of him, his shirtless body beautiful in the room’s light. Keith leant down on top of Lance, his collarbones strong, and kissed him passionately. Lance felt like he was melting, he was feeling so good, as if every part of his body was singing in joy.

30 Hours, 26 Minutes and 8 Seconds

Keith moved off from on top of Lance, his lips sore from use. He laid down on the floor next to Lance and intertwined his hand in Lance’s.

“You kissed me,” Lance laughed, “You kissed me!”

Keith grinned, “I kissed you”.

“Thank you”.

“We should kiss again”.

Lance crawled on top of Keith, “Yeah we should”.

31 Hours, 17 Minutes and 31 Seconds

Lance lay next to Keith in the bed, his arms wrapped around his waist, their foreheads leaning against each other’s, “We should probably take a break,” Keith grinned, “This is probably too much for a first time”.

“What,” Lance brined back, “Do you think a first time is?”

“First time in bed together, but as people who…kiss and stuff”.

“Christ Keith, no that’s not what a first time is”.

Keith shrugged, which ended up looking like an awkward wiggle as he was lying down in the bed, “We should still take a break so we can just…talk. About what this means”.

Lance nodded, “Right. So what does this mean?”

“I take it this means you ‘like like’ me?”

“Yeah. I have for a really, really long time,” Lance admitted quietly.

“How long?” Keith asked, wide-eyed and interested.

“You remember back at the Garrison, that day when the pilots got to demonstrate how to operate the simulator?” Lance asked and Keith nodded, “When you went up there and you few the simulator…the look on your face as you flew, your determination. It was stunning. I wanted to be like you, a talented pilot who could do anything, fly anything. You were everything I wasn’t, you were a fighter pilot, and I was just a low cargo pilot. I started trying to be just like you, I even tried to spread a rumour that we were rivals so that people would think I was just like you; an unparalleled fighter pilot”.

“Really?” Keith whispered his voice full of awe.

“Plus your hair was cute,” Lance admitted and Keith let out a little gasp, “If you tell anyone I said that then I’ll let them know you dye it”.

“You know about that?” Keith said in shock.

“I’ve always known,” Lance said darkly before his face broke into a grin, “So when did you realise?”

“Realise that I liked you?” Keith asked and Lance nodded giddily, “I’ve been thinking about that since yesterday”.

“And?”

Keith let out a breath and closed his eyes, “I think it was after we’d beaten the Balmera. We all walked into the lounge area, absolutely exhausted, and you just fell down onto the sofa making jokes and grinning like an idiot. I just looked at you and I realised that you were the most beautiful person I had ever seen”.

Keith opened his eyes and looked at Lance; his eyes were brimming with tears.

“Lance I’m so sorry-”

“Thank you,” Lance grinned through his tears, “Thank you so much,” he pulled Keith in for a hug, tightening his grip on him and squeezing him hard, “Thank you thank you thank you”.

Keith smiled, “Thank you too”.

31 Hours, 35 Minutes and 2 Seconds

“I’m bored,” Lance moaned loudly, disturbing the napping Keith on his shoulder, The two were on the floor leaning against the wall, Keith wearing his jacket and Lance not. Lance held his book in his hand, reading the words but not taking in their meanings.

“You wanna sleep?” Keith said softly.

“You mind if I get ready for it properly? I skipped a lot yesterday before going to bed”.

“How long you gonna be?”

“Two, three minutes at most”.

32 Hours, 21 Minutes and 6 Seconds

Lance walked out of the bathroom, his face shining with product. He had a night mask resting on his head and a fresh towel around his arm, although from the looks of things before he didn’t seem to need one.

“Two, three minutes at most,” Keith muttered in a high voice and Lance laughed.

“That’s girl talk for around an hour. You’re gay, I thought you’d know that”.

Keith scowled, “I’m not a stereotype Lance. You’re a bisexual Latino, I didn’t think you’d be into stereotypes”.

Lance shrugged, “Only when they don’t apply to me,” he smirked and rolled into bed, “I call the wall side tonight, we can rock, paper, scissor it tomorrow to see who gets it”.

Keith got up from where he sat and wandered towards the bathroom, “Don’t go to sleep without me. I’ll be two, three minutes most”.

32 Hours, 32 Minutes and 18 Seconds

“Lance why aren’t there any clean towels?” Keith shouted from the bathroom.

Lance bit his lip from where he laid in the bed, “I may have forgotten you need one too and used it as a bandage”.

“Lance!”

“Just use the one I used!”

“No, that’s…dirty!”

“Oh grow up”.

32 Hours, 36 Minutes and 29 Seconds

Keith slid into the bed next to Lance still scowling-Lance laid facing the wall with his mask down, “I’m covered in your smell,” Keith muttered, “This is why we had that many towels”.

“Oh you love me,” Lance snickered.

“I think I do”.

41 Hours, 56 Minutes and 43 Seconds

Lance yawned his way awake and carefully moved his sleep mask off of his head. He rolled over to greet Keith and found the rest of the bed empty. He climbed out of bed and lumbered to the bathroom door to take off his face-mask, still half asleep and yawning. The door slid open and Keith walked in rubbing his eyes and yawning. He walked to the sink and turned the hot tap to full. He washed his face and looked up in the mirror over the sink. He froze when he saw Keith behind him, also frozen, completely naked. Lance’s eyes widened as he stared at Keith in the mirror-he subconsciously let his eyes roam over Keith’s lower half-he’d already seen Keith shirtless constantly over the last two days but he hadn’t once seen what he had below.

Keith’s legs were strong, well-toned from the amount of training he did, and his calves were just as strong. Lance’s gaze wandered to Keith’s crotch and he blushed and looked away immediately. They both stood completely still looking at the ground and pretending that the situation wasn’t hellishly awkward.

Lance slowly moved his hand to the tap and turned the hot water off and walked back towards the door to leave, pretending he hadn’t seen a thing. Lance sat on the bed and rubbed his eyes slowly and let out a wide yawn.

Keith walked out of the bathroom, wearing trousers and a ridiculous expression on his face.

“Keith-” Lance began but Keith immediately shushed him.

“Nope, nothing stop talking”.

“If it makes you uncomfortable then I can show you mine”.

“Lance I swear to God”.

“Hey, we’re boyfriends, I would have seen it eventually”.

“I’m so embarrassed”.

“Okay fine,” Lance laughed, “I’ll stop”.

“Thank you,” Keith sighed in relief.

“Can I just say that it looked way bigger than I thought it would”.

“No you may not”.

42 Hours, 13 Minutes and 57 Seconds

“Wanna play Uno?”

“We’ve done that”.

“Wanna play Truth or Dare?”

“We’ve already done that”.

“Wanna make out?”

“We’ve already done that”.

“Wanna play Battleships?”

“Okay now I know you’re being annoying on purpose”.

Lance and Keith were lying on the floor staring at the ceiling, bored out of their minds. The ceiling was white and empty, like the space in Lance’s head.

“Do you think pigeons have feelings?” Lance asked dreamily.

“I think you’re referencing something and I don’t know what it is,” Keith said in an accusative tone.

“You’re not wrong”.

A moment passed between them.

“Do you think Pidge has feelings?”

42 Hours, 41 Minutes and 25 Seconds

“Rock paper scissors!” Lance and Keith shouted simultaneously and threw their hands out at each other. Lance held his hand as a pair of scissors whilst Keith’s was in the shape of a rock.

Lance moaned loudly whilst Keith pumped his arm, “Alright! That’s forty to me and sixteen to you”.

“I still say you’re cheating again,” Lance scowled, “Alright, best out of eighty one”.

43 Hours, 3 Minutes and 7 Seconds

“Lance we aren’t going best out of one hundred and thirty five, I’m calling it quits”.

“Why? You chicken?” Lance taunted before beginning to cluck like something that did not sound like a chicken whatsoever.

“Look Lance, I won, fair and square, just let me pick a game to play already”. Lance made a non-committal mutter that Keith chose to take as a mutter of defeat, “I choose 20 Questions”.

“You’re kidding right?” Lance groaned, “You want to learn things about me?”

“If we’re gonna keep making out and stuff I have to know more about you”.

“Ugh, fine, let’s do it, on one condition”.

Keith hesitated, “What is it?”

“You have to answer the questions too”.

Keith thought about it for a moment and nodded, “Okay I’m game,” he grinned, “First question; pineapple on pizza?”

“Abomination”.

“Oh thank God, me too”.

Lance grinned to himself; maybe this wasn’t going to be as bad as he thought. He’d expected questions that would make him consider things like his past and what he wanted from the future with Keith.

“What do you think we are?”

Shit.

“I…don’t know. We haven’t really talked about this”.

“We should talk about it”.

“That’s the entire reason you chose this game isn’t it”.

“Want to talk?”


43 Hours, 6 Minutes and 2 Seconds

Lance and Keith sat side by side on the bed, feeling like there was a wide chasm between them rather than just a few centimetres. They’re both put on their jackets and sat awkwardly and silently. Lance opened his mouth twice to speak but said nothing. Eventually Keith spoke first;

“So…you don’t know what we are?”

Lance shook his head, “I mean…I know what I want us to be”.

“What do you want us to be?” Lance looked at the ground and said something incoherently quiet, “Lance?”

“Boyfriends!” Lance shouted, “I want to be your boyfriend! I want to see you in the mornings and the evenings and all the time in between! I wanna hold your hand and braid your hair and wear your clothes. I want to be everything you want me to be,” Keith stared at Lance wordlessly smiling, “Stop looking at me like that, I mean it,” Lance warned, but Keith continued smiling and staring at Lance. He slid off his jacket, leaving his entire torso bare, and handed it to Lance, “Why are you doing this?”

“You said you wanted to wear my clothes,” Keith smiled gently, “You can wear this”.

Lance’s worried face broke out into a grin, “You ass!” Lance laughed, “You actually had me worried there!”

Keith laughed and Lance grabbed his face tenderly and pushed his lips into Keith’s. Keith melted into the kiss and the two of them moved down to lie next to each other on the bed.

44 Hours, 13 Minutes and 12 Seconds

Keith lay on Lance’s chest, their hands lazily intertwined, as he listened to his chest rise up and down. Lance’s hands were warm and soft and long and thin. At the base of his palm was a an old large mark from a burn or a hard fall. Keith ran his finger over it and felt Lance shiver before him.

He decided to leave it alone.

45 Hours, 2 Minutes and 27 Seconds

“Am I your first?” Lance said, resting his head in Keith’s lap as the older boy sat up on the bed fiddling with Lance’s hair. Lance’s eyes were contently shut and his face looked peaceful, almost serene.

“My first?” Keith said quietly, stroking Lance’s hair back into place.

“Boyfriend,” Lance said, “Am I your first boyfriend?”

Keith blushed, “Yeah…you’re the only person I’ve ever been this close to”.

Lance smiled inwardly and flashed a grin at Keith, “Take that Shiro,” he smirked and Keith tapped Lance’s forehead hard, “Ow, point taken”.

“Am I your first?” Keith asked nervously, afraid of the answer that Lance would give. His confidence and suave nature and swagger made him seem like he’d left dozens of broken hearts behind him as he moved from person to person.

“Boyfriend or griflriend?” Lance smiled before sighing, “Doesn’t matter, you’re my first overall anyway.”

Keith was taken aback-he bent down and kissed Lance on the forehead, “Good”.

47 Hours, 43 Minutes and 6 Seconds

“G8”

Keith stared down at his board in disbelief, “I can’t believe I’m saying this,” he said incredulously, “Lance McClain, Paladin of the Blue Lion, you have most definitely sunk my space-battleship”.

Lance grinned triumphantly, “I told you I could do it! I told you!”

“Well done Lance,” Keith smiled, “Just fifteen more games and you might be able to beat my score”.

“Easy. Just because you’re my boyfriend doesn’t mean I’ll go easy on you!”

48 Hours, 33 Minutes and 45 Seconds

“Can we talk about what happened earlier?” Lance said carefully, his head back in Keith’s lap on the bed, after losing another six games of Battleship and having to clean up the resulting mess without the help of Keith.

“You’ll have to be more specific babe,” Keith purred.

Babe

“The thing in the bathroom,” Lance said delicately, “I was wondering if we could talk about it”.

“Wh-what’s there to talk about?” Keith stammered, his face turning red and hiding his head in his hands.

“I was wondering if I could…see you again. Like that”.

Keith shook his head, “No, not yet. I-I need to be ready for that, I’m sorry”.

“Hey shh,” Lance whispered, “I’m sorry for bringing it up. We’ll wait until you’re ready. I promise”.

“Will you braid my hair again?”

“Definitely, c’mere”.

50 Hours, 13 Minutes and 12 Seconds

“We should do it,” Lance said firmly. Keith looked up from across the room where he sat and gave Lance a warning look.

“No Lance,” he stated, “We’ve talked about this. We aren’t doing it”.

“Please? I know you don’t think we should yet, that we should wait longer, but wo knows how much time we’ll have? For all we know this will be our last ever opportunity to do it”.

“What if it’s a mistake?” Keith argued, “What if something happens and we’re not prepared?”

“Then we’ll be prepared,” Lance said. Keith bit his lip and sighed.

“Fine. I give in. Let’s do it”.

Lance grinned and walked over to the bed, lying down next to Keith and pulling out the mobile viewing device, or MVD, that Pidge had given them.

“I’m thinking some Defenders of the Universe,” Lance grinned, “that’s a good show”.

“The animation on it is terrible”.

Lance pouted, “Spoilsport”.

53 Hours, 46 Minutes and 27 Seconds

“Lance I can’t watch anymore of this,” Keith murmured, “I have no idea what time it is anymore but I know it’s too late to keep watching this stuff”.

“One more episode?” Lance pleaded but Keith snatched the MVD from his hands, “Hey!”

“You said one more episode three episodes ago, I’m confiscating this. Now go stick your sleeping make-up on”.

“It’s not make-up,” Lance grumbled as he trudged to the bathroom door. Keith sat back and sighed happily before unlocking the MVP and switching the show on, “Legendary Defender is better,” he murmured to himself as the first episode started up.

54 Hours, 2 Minutes and 10 Seconds

Lance yawned and stretched as he walked out the bathroom, a towel around his waist. His face shone with his face mask, which over the last day Keith had grown to appreciate as making Lance’s face spectacularly smooth.

Keith wiggled out of the bed and made his way to the bathroom, “You can have the wall side,” he yawned, “And the MVP is on the bed, don’t start another episode without me”.

56 Hours, 54 Minutes and 17 Seconds

Lance sat in bed with his mask up at the top of his head, leaving his eyes exposed and staring up at the ceiling. The room was as white and bare as it had been two days ago when they’d first started. He knew the floor was a mess of food goo and blankets and Uno cards and board game pieces. All in all the last two days hadn’t been bad. He’d even enjoyed them.

“Keith?” Lance whispered, “Are you awake?”

“How couldn’t I be,” he grumbled, “You thinking is about as loud as you chewing”.

“What happens once we get out of here?” Lance whispered with his upset sounding high in his voice, “Do we tell everyone about us? How much of this time do we tell them about?”

Keith turned over in the bed to face Lance, his face sharp and defined despite the lack of strong light in the room, “What do you want to happen? Do you want us to keep this a secret?”

“No,” Lance said decisively, “I definitely don’t want that. I just thought…do you want that?”

“Why would I want that?” Keith smiled, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me”.

Lance leant in and softly kissed him and pulled back, “I’ll try to think less so you can get some sleep”.

“You thinking less isn’t possible,” Keith snickered and Lance scowled.

“I still think more than you”.

66 Hours, 4 Minutes and 34 Seconds

Keith woke up the next morning feeling rested and peaceful; he checked the clicker counter Pidge had given them. 6 Hours Left. 6 hours until it was over and he could smell air that hadn’t been farted in and slept in and generally used. He stretched out his leg and accidentally kicked Lance, who was surprisingly still sleeping. The other boy didn’t move, still deep within sleep, and Keith stared at his face. Like this he was so peaceful, pure. Despite the cream on his face he still had visible lines around his mouth from laughing and a natural frown on his face. He breathed in tiny streams of air and released them as tiny little puffs.

Lance was beautiful.

66 Hours, 33 Minutes and 14 Seconds

Lance pulled the mask of his face haphazardly and yawned loudly. He stretched out his arm and accidentally prodded Keith in the face.

“Hands to yourself Lance,” Keith muttered and Lance grinned.

Lo que sea,” Lance smirked, “Today’s the day right? Freedom?”

Keith laughed, “Been that bad huh?”

“I just want to be able to run somewhere, move faster than a walk”.

Keith nodded, “I know what you mean,” he sighed, “I miss the training deck”.

“I miss my lion”.

“I miss my bed”.

They sighed happily and Lance snuggled up to Keith, “Wanna binge on the rest of the goo for breakfast?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s a death sentence”.

“Can’t be that bad”.

67 Hours, 3 Minutes and 57 Seconds

“I think I’m gonna be sick,” Lance mumbled, his face as green as the sludge he’d eaten, “I ate too much it tastes foul”.

Keith froze, “Lance. Stay absolutely still,” he ordered cautiously, his voice barely more than the sound of breathing.

“What is it?” Lance whispered in fear, “Keith?”

Keith raised his hand slowly towards Lance’s head; it took all he had for Lance not to whip his head around.

“Just stay absolutely still,” he muttered and carefully touched Lance’s head, “You have goo in your hair”.

Lance screamed.

68 Hours, 16 Minutes and 12 Seconds

Lance pulled away from Keith’s lips, smiling widely, “Are we just gonna make out until we get to leave,” he grinned, his question answered by Keith pulling him back in by his jacket (or more accurately Keith’s jacket) for another kiss.

68 Hours, 53 Minutes and 28 Seconds

“I don’t want to,” Lance whined and buried his head in Keith’s chest, “It’s dull or tiring and pointless”.

“Lance if we don’t clean Coran’s gonna get so pissed,” Keith stated firmly, “No amount of nuzzling my chest is gonna change that”.

“But what if we just made out until it’s over, that was fun before”.

“No Lance”.

Lance whimpered and Keith sighed, “This is a punishment kiss,” he scowled and kiss Lance’s forehead, “Derive no pleasure from this”.

70 Hours, 3 Minutes and 44 Seconds

“We done?” Lance grinned and whooped, “We’re done!” he hollered and laughed, “Suck it room, you’re clean!”

Lance looked around at his work; all the empty containers of goo and broken board games (only Battleships) were pushed in the corner where the broken glass was, along with the remains of their shirts and the bloody towels that had doubled as cloths for the goo Lance had thrown at Keith. The MVP, now out of charge, sat atop the pack of Uno cards nearby and the blankets were arranged neatly on the bed.

Keith walked out of the bathroom rubbing his hands, his hair curled from his braids and his face red from exhaustion, “You make your braids far too difficult to undo,” he grunted, flopping down onto the bed. The perfectly arranged blankets moved under his weight and Lance let out a whimper; it had taken ten minutes to get them that flawless.

Lance sighed and flopped down next to Keith, finding his hand and intertwining his own in it, “They’re made to last,” he smiled.

“Like us”.

“Like us”.

71 Hours, 55 Minutes and 54 Seconds

Lance stood with Keith at the door excitedly, wearing his own jacket again with the sleeve rolled up over his cut. His bare chest was cold as he shifted from toe to toe in excitement, “Man it’s been so long, I can’t remember what the outside world is like”.

“You’re exaggerating,” Keith muttered, “It’s been three days”.

“How much longer is my hair? Do I have a moustache?” his eyes widened, “How much more wrinkly am I?”

“Your hair is the same length, you have a tiny bit of stubble, you’re somehow less wrinkly than before”.

“At least we proved the others wrong,” Lance said nervously, “We survived three days and we bonded”.

“We definitely had some bondage”.

Lance let out a small squeak and burst out laughing again, taking a step from the door.

“Why is that so funny?” Keith demanded.

71 Hours, 59 Minutes and 39 Seconds

“They’ve done it,” Allura said in disbelief, “They actually managed to spend three days together”.

“We should’ve given them more credit,” Shiro said from beside the princess, “They’re paladins of Voltron. They only act immature”.

“They could stand to act it a little less,” Allura huffed.

The ticker in Allura’s hand beeped and Shiro and Allura took a step back from the door. It slid open revealing Keith standing awkwardly, his torso bare save for his jacket, whilst Lance rolled on the floor laughing his head off in a similar outfit, “He’s been like this for the last five minutes,” Keith grumbled grumpily.

Allura peaked around Keith to look at the disrepair the room was it; the bed was messily made and the corner had the expected rubbish, but besides that it was practically spotless. Lance wiped tears from his eyes as he got up off of the floor and placed a hand on Keith’s shoulder.

“Well Princess, I think you owe us an apology,” Lance grinned.

Allura scowled as Shiro spoke, “I think we all do. We should have had more faith in you two,” he said solemnly, “But Lance what happened to your arm?”

“Oh,” Lance laughed, “Well Keith here broke a light-”

“I broke a light?” Keith shouted incredulously, “You broke it not me!”

“Are we really doing this again?” Lance yelled.

“You are unbelievable!” Keith groaned, stomping away from Allura, Shiro and Lance. Lance chased after him laughing.

“They really learnt nothing did they,” Allura said in disbelief.

“Oh I don’t know, they might have learnt something,” he grinned and nodded at Keith hand, holding Lance’s, as they argued their way down the corridor towards whatever came next.